96th Street Bridge. (Photo courtesy of Stone Harbor Police Department Facebook page)

Based on the results of the most recent inspections, vehicles weighing more than 15 tons are banned from using the 96th Street Bridge in Stone Harbor, Cape May County announced Monday.

Inspections have determined that the bridge can no longer “reliably carry” vehicles heavier than that weight without possibly “overstressing” the structure, the county said in a press release.

The 96th Street Bridge, which connects Stone Harbor with Middle Township, is among the bridges that are subject to more frequent inspections due to the age of the bascule span.

The bascule span, which is the movable section commonly known as the draw bridge, was constructed in 1939 and still contains many of the original steel components. Some of the main supporting members are over 80 years old, according to the county.

“The coastal environment and constant vehicular traffic through the years have had an adverse effect on the condition of these bridge members,” the press release said.

Following repairs to the bascule span completed in 2017 at a cost of about $734,000, the bridge’s legal load had been raised to 40 tons.

In the meantime, vehicles weighing less than the new limit of 15 tons are required to follow a 30 mph speed limit while crossing the bridge.

“Impact conditions resulting from speeding vehicles also continue to be an issue and the public is encouraged to cross the bridge while obeying the posted speed,” according to the release.

Vehicles weighing more than 15 tons will be required to access Stone Harbor via Avalon Boulevard (C.R. 601).

Due to the current re-decking of the Ingram’s Thorofare Bridge on Avalon Boulevard, oversized vehicles wider than 11 feet will not be able to cross the bridge until May 7, the anticipated seasonal shutdown of the deck project.

All other vehicles will be able to cross the Ingram’s Thorofare Bridge without restrictions, the county said.